March 11, 2010


Title: Der Untergang
Year: 2004 (Germany), 2005 (US)
Length: 156 minutes
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Writer: Bernd Eichinger, based on books by Joachim Fest and Traudl Junge & Melissa Müller
Starring: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Corinna Harfouch, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler
Music: Stephan Zacharias (and non-original music)
Distinctions: Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film; currently #80 on IMDb's Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: Hitler's last days, from the perspective of his secretary
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Good.
Story: Good. I'm giving it a "good" just because it's extremely well written, although the story's kind of strange.  There's not quite a traditional story arc, which means I have no sense of where anything is going.  But at the same time, the outcome of the movie is of course completely predictable.
Characters: Great.
Dialog: Great.
Pacing: Good. It's never slow. I could have done without a lot of the bits about minor characters, though; if you're not a history buff, you probably won't know who half these people are or why we're supposed to care about them.
Cinematography: Good. It's shot effectively, although rarely prettily. I think every scene has an out-of-focus elbow in the foreground at some point.
Special effects/design: Great.
Acting: Great. Ganz' Hitler is one of the most memorable performances you'll ever see.
Music: Indifferent. The sound mixing is kind of strange: you can often only just barely tell there's an underscore there at all.
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good). A highly-recommended 7. It's hard to put my finger on why I don't feel it deserves an 8, but I think it has something to do with the cast being unreasonably ginormous.
Objective Rating: 3.3/4 (Very good).

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